Try searching for ‘Employee Engagement’ in Google. You will get over 23 million hits. Everyone seems to be talking about employee engagement. According to the Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report 2015, employee engagement and retention are the biggest issues facing companies. We must better engage with our people! Ok, but how do we go about doing that?
Leadership is the most highly correlated factor to engagement according to the Sunday Times Best Companies survey (2015). What is it that leaders are doing that is impacting so heavily on employees?
Leaders are not going out of their way to cause havoc, yet their behaviours in the corporate world means something is not right. A lack of decision making, a lack of trust in the judgment of other colleagues, work being redone because it doesn’t suit the political climate, data being hidden, or exposed, depending upon the need at the time, people being promoted because of who they know, rather than merit, favours for people, different rules for different people, a lack of consistency in the application of policies….need I go on? This mix of conscious and unconscious actions are creating perceptions in the minds of your teams about how much they really matter, breaking any psychological contract, ultimately resulting with them voting with their feet. Retention is being impacted because in amongst all of this chaos, there are colleagues who are coming to work every day, trying to give the best of themselves, who are throwing in the towel because it’s just too difficult to get the basics done.
Leaders are playing to win. But there is no winner if the company is being damaged in this way. There needs to be an alignment between the goals of the leaders, and that of the organisation. Values, behaviours and purpose should all be aligned. I would guess that at least 50% of organisations would state ‘Respect’ in amongst their organisational values, yet that is the one thing many employees will say they need more of, or is missing. It’s time for leaders to step up and resolve these internal conflicts. As a leader, understanding your workplace needs, and taking steps to ensure these are met, will mean less stressful behaviours being exhibited, with leaders playing to their strengths and demonstrating the best of themselves. This authentic leadership will go a long way to preventing the behaviours of micromanaging and politics that often get in the way of achieving the company’s ambition.
Make your employees matter, and retain and nurture that talent that others are waiting to get their hands on. Truly engaging your people, will provide you with the edge over your competitors, enhance your culture, and ultimately improve your business performance.
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